Cartographica Neerlandica Map Text for Ortelius Map No. 115

Text, first scholarly version, translated from the 1570 Latin (ABC) & 1571 Latin editions:

115.1. {1570L(AC){Helvetia.

115.2. About this region, Münster says the following. This region, or a large part of it which the Romans once called Helvetia, is nowadays in the vernacular called Suicia [Switzerland], and also the land of the Confœderati [confederates]. It begins at the high tops of the Alps, and while it ends at the origin of the Rhine, it extends in the North towards Waldshut and Laufenburg. From here, it bends Westwards along the Jura mountains towards lake Genevensis [Geneva] from where its extends back to the Alps, where it also used to comprise the higher regions of Gallia [France]. But it was divided into four parts at that time. One was inhabited by the Tigurini [Zürchers], who undertook a march against the Romans more than 100 years before the birth of Christ (as can be read in Cæsar), killing the Roman consul and leader L. Cassius. They captured his army and overcame it. The Helvetii [Swiss] were at that time more famous than other peoples from Gallia [France] because of their courageous spirit and heroic feats in war.
115.3. Around 60 years before the birth of Christ, the Helvetii reached an agreement with the Rauraci, their neighbours, and other adjacent peoples. Then the Helvetii abandoned their land which was insufficient for them and came this way to establish new settlements after they had burnt their old cities in order not to return to them, and in order to find a better place to stay. And they did not lack the courage, if they had been able to accomplish that, to conquer all of Gallia [France]. First they went towards Geneva, and towards the Roman province now called Sabaudia [Savoye] and Delphinatus [Dauphine]. But when Julius Cæsar, the Roman commander in chief prevented their progress with many moats, dams and other obstacles, they were forced to evade to the area across the Sequana [Seine] which is nowadays the dukedom of Burgundia [Bourgogne], reaching the Hedui who already lived in Burgundy and after some skirmishes they fought a fierce battle.
115.4. The massacre lasted from the seventh hour to the night. And although the men on both sides fought bravely, Cæsar turned out to be victorious, and he conquered the Helvetii [Swiss], and abducted these warlike people to his camps like herds are abducted to the stables of the shepherds, because he feared that if he had not done so, the Germans would have crossed the Rhine and would have occupied the area which the Swiss had abandoned. After the Helvetii had been conquered, Cæsar immediately occupied Gallia [France] until he had subdued the entire region under the rule of the Romans. As regards the language which the Swiss and the French now use, there are two opinions. Some (like Beatus Rhenanus) think that the Gallian language [at that time] did not have anything in common with the German language, nor with that of the French as each of these peoples speak it today, but that it was a language on its own. But others (among whom Ægidius Tschudi and Henricus Glareanus) think that the people from Gallia then preferred to use the German language, preferably the variety which the Swiss still use today. Both parties have plausible arguments. So far the well known geographer [i.e. Münster].
115.5. Next to what can be found in in Caesar and Strabo, you can also read more in Vadianus, Tschudi, {1571L{Franciscus Niger from Bassana}1571L}, Henricus Glareanus, and commentaries on Münsters writings by Oswald Molitor, and also in Johann Stumpf, who wrote a large treatise on them. To these names you may add the commentaries on Cæsar by Johannes Rhellicanus. Nicolaus Stupanus Rhetus has promised a description on Rhetia}1570L(ABC) & 1571L end here}.

Now follows the translation of the second scholarly version, from the 1573 Latin (AB), 1574 Latin, 1575 Latin, 1579 Latin (AB), 1580/1589 German, 1584 Latin, 1588 Spanish, 1592 Latin, 1595 Latin, 1601 Latin, 1602 German, 1602 Spanish, 1603 Latin, 1606 English, 1608/1612 Italian, 1609/1612 Latin & 1609/1612/1641 Spanish editions:

115.6. {1573L(A){HELVETIA {1606E only{or SWITZERLAND}1606E only}{1580/1589G & 1602G have instead{Schweizerland}1580/1589G & 1602G instead}.

115.7. The Helvetij {1588S, 1602S & 1608/1612I only{commonly called the Swiss}1588S, 1602S & 1608/1612I only} (who, as Eutropius says, were once called Quadi) were divided, according to Cæsar, into four Pagi (1580/1589G, 1588S, 1602G, 1602S, 1608/1612I have instead{villages}1580/1589G, 1588S, 1602G, 1602S, 1608/1612I instead}. Now they divide it into thirteen parts which they call cantones or angules. They presently call Helvetia SWITZERLAND and EIDGNOSSENSCHAFT after the league or confederation which they have made among themselves.
115.8. Some people think this country to be the highest in all of Europe, because it is almost wholly situated within the Alps, the highest mountains of Europe, and because the great rivers of it, the Rhine, Rhône and Po, originating here as from a high place, run to various coasts of the world. This country is everywhere full of steep hills, deep valleys, great lakes, and clear springs and brooks. These mountains have a white appearance because of the eternal snow, so that to those who behold them from far, they seem [to be] nothing but hard rock. Yet the meadows, {not in 1580/1589G, 1588S, 1602G, 1602S{after they have been burnt}not in 1580/1589G, 1588S, 1602G, 1602S}, are found to be very fertile. On them flocks and cows are fed, from which great profit arises for its inhabitants. Thus, whey (as Oswald Molitor writes) cheese, butter and other dairy products are made in such abundance, that not only Switzerland is glutted with these things, but that also adjoining countries are from this plentifully fed. For they are transported from here into Schwabenland, to beyond the mountains of Jura, to Italy and to various other places. And something which is hard to believe, as the same source affirms as being certain, is that from twenty cows the yearly profit is one hundred crowns, after deducting all costs devoted to housekeeping, men-servants and maiden-servants. This is why so numerous a people can live and be maintained on so small a place {1606E only{and such a limited piece of land}1606E only}.
115.9. The thirteen cantons of this country (as we said they are commonly called), as our source from Glareanus lists them, are not subject to the command of any prince. These, when any matter occurs which concerns the whole country or government of it, all join together in a meeting, and decide what should be done. Otherwise, various magistrates govern the various cities. These cities are therefore linked by a certain bond of friendship and unity because of which they are called EIDGENOSSEN, that is, joined in one covenant. The [cantons] of Rothweil, Sankt Gallen, Dogenburg and Lepont have also linked themselves to those {1606E only{thirteen}1606E only} cantons with a similar bond of friendship.
115.10. Helvetia is situated (that we may describe it in the simplest manner) between the river Rhine, St. Claude mountain, lake Geneva (which by the {1606E only{Roman}1606E only} writers is commonly called Lacus Lemannus) and Italy. In the East it has the county of Tirol, in the South the duchy of Milan and the country of Piemont. In the West it borders on Sabaudia. The other part of it borders on Burgundy, France and High Germany.
115.11. We said that Switzerland has many valleys between the mountains. Some of these run from the tops of the Alps towards Italy, inhabited by various kinds of people. Ægidius Tschudi writes that those who inhabit the valley of Augusta {1580/1589G, 1602G instead, 1606E additionally{or East Valley}1580/1589G, 1602G instead, 1606E additionally} where in former times the Salassi lived, are mostly merchants. In the Cesia valley almost all are stone-cutters and masons. From Esche valley come cutlers and smiths, who make sword blades, and knives, and people who make wooden dishes and trenchers. All the inhabitants of the Vecchio valley are chimney sweepers, so that various people who live by sweeping chimneys, wandering up and down all the way through Germany, France and Italy, and even as far as Sicilia, are born here. In the valley of Galanck they are all either outfitters of horses or basket makers. But these wander like beggars from country to country. All the rest live on their trades.
115.12. Besides what Cæsar, Strabo and other ancient writers have written about this country, you may read many other things in Ægidius Tschudi, Vadianus, Franciscus Niger of Bassana, Münster, Henricus Glareanus, and Oswald Molitor in the commentaries on him, as also in Johann Stumpf, who has written a huge volume about this nation. To these you may add Johann Rhellicanus' commentaries on Cæsar. {1579L(A){Josias Simler has written a book about the petty kingdom of Valois and of the Alps. The same man is engaged in a work on Switzerland in general}1579L(A)}. Nicolaus Stupanus of Rhætia promises [to write] a description of Rhætia. For the estate and government of the commonwealth of this country see Jean Bodin in his Methodus historica. Antonius Pinetus in his descriptions of cities has diligently described the political state [of affairs] and particular arrangements of the commonwealth of Bern. Ægidius Tschudi, Henricus Glareanus and others have differences of opinion about the ancient language of the Helvetij. But we refer those who study more curiously the dialects of languages to the work of Ioannes Becanus which he calls Becceselana}1573L(AB), 1574L, 1575L, 1579L(AB), 1580/1589G, 1584L, 1588S, 1592L, 1595L, 1601L, 1602G, 1602S, 1603L, 1606E, 1608/1612I & 1609/1612/1641S end here}.

Vernacular text version, translated from the 1571/1573 Dutch, 1572/1573 German, 1572/1574 French, 1581 French, 1587 French, 1598 French and 1598/1610/1613 Dutch editions:

115.13. {1571/1573D{Switzerland.

115.14. The Helvetij, now called the Swiss, live in the highest region of Europe, as some think, which is easy to believe since many large rivers like the Rhine, Danube, Po, {not in 1572/1573G{Saône}not in 1572/1573G} and Rhône etc., originate in these mountains and run downwards to the various countries of Christianity.
115.15. This Switzerland, to describe it roughly, lies between the Rhine, the mountain range of St. Glaude, the lake of Geneva and Italy. It thus has the duchy of Tirol in the East, the dukedom of Milan and Piemont in the South, Savoie in the West, in the South-West its has High Burgundy and France, and on its other side High Germany.
115.16. The entire scenery consists of mountains and valleys, in which valleys there are numerous lakes or seas, very pleasant to see because of their clarity because you look into them like in a mirror. Thus we have watched with no less wonder than pleasure what pebbles there were on the bottom, and watching how the small fish spent their time swimming in those depths, they impelled me more than once to join them, were it not that I was worried about drowning in such a case. And considering that this country by nature is very rough and barren because of its multitude of rocks and mountains, yet it is very fertile and well inhabited.
115.17. This country (of which we think that no equal can be found, except for an area in Transylvania as we will describe there) nevertheless does not have a king, but is ruled by the inhabitants themselves. There are 13 city-states [cantons] which are joined by a common oath, for which reason they are called confederates. These discuss and ordain among them whatever concerns the country as a whole. Further, every city-state has its own chief. The 13 city-states are the following: Zürich, a pleasant city situated on both sides of its lake, connected by a bridge, Bern, Luzern, Uri, Schwyz (from which the country derives its name), Underwalden, Zug, Glaris, Basel, the large and small part, connected by a bridge across the Rhine. There is a university here.
115.18. [Further] Freiburg, Solothurn, this is the oldest city of the German area, next to Trier, because it was built not long after the time of Abraham, as some write. [Then] Schaffhausen, a pleasant region along the Rhine with a bridge crossing it. Not far from there, the Rhine crosses cliffs and rocks, and at the last cliff, it falls down about ten of twelve fathoms with such a thundering noise that the water seems nothing but smoke and dust. If a ship would fall down here, it would break into a thousand pieces. Then there is Appenzell.
115.19. As we said before, this is a country full of mountains and valleys, and some valleys have their own specialties, (as Ægidius Tschudi mentions), whose inhabitants practice a certain craft there with which they can make a living elsewhere. Thus, in the Augst {1572/1573G instead{East}1572/1573G instead} valley they are usually traders, in the valley of Sessia they are usually masons and stonecutters, in the valley of Eschental smiths of pails and potters {1572/1573G has instead{locksmiths}1572/1573G instead}, in the valley of Vegets chimney sweepers. These last ones roam thoughout Germany, Italy and France, and sustain themselves in this manner. In the valley of Galancker there are basket makers, but they mostly roam begging around the inlands, whereas the others can earn a living by themselves}1571/1573D, 1572/1573G, 1572/1574F, 1581F, 1587F, 1598F & 1598/1610/1613D end here.

Bibliographical sources

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